Over the Christmas period, Doug Elgee, a longstanding Labour Party member and stalwart sadly passed away. He was loved and cherished by many in the Blackpool South Constituency Labour Party. Gordon, who was unfortunately unable to be able to be at the funeral at Carleton Crematorium, gave the following written tribute to Doug:
“I want to try to convey, from all of us in the Blackpool Labour Party and as someone who has known Dougie over 25 years as constituent and friend, the sadness and loss we feel at his passing.
For all that time Dougie has been active, committed and engaged in all our activities – respected, listened to, appreciated. When we remember him at our February meeting, it will be with a profound sense of gratitude.
Dougie’s Labour values sprang from his work, as a draughtsman at British Aerospace, and his trade union activities, but also his deep, feisty sense of what was right and wrong, and what should be done about it. That led eventually to him becoming, in the 1980s , chair of Blackpool’s respected Trade Council.
Two of his colleagues from then, Pat Carrington and Sheila Johnson, remember his achievements with affection. Pat says: “He was always clear and measured in his speeches – his attitude towards encouraging women and engaging with them was very open and ahead of its time.”
When I was campaigning in the 1990s to become Blackpool South’s first Labour MP, Dougie was an inveterate and supportive letter writer to the Gazette – trenchant but always bedrocked in knowledge and coherent argument. He was no armchair activist – he put his energy and generosity in everything he did to sustain the Labour cause in his local community and across Blackpool.
He was as assiduous in supporting social events as in canvassing – in all weathers – often with a variety of scarves and headgear. Our tireless fundraiser, Anne Hoyer, tells me Dougie was always a generous provider of wines for our raffles – and good ones too – drawn from his well- stocked cellar.
Even when his health began to decline, he remained resolute, though we know how hard the death of his daughter Ruth hit him. I was amazed ,just after he had come out from one of his bouts in hospital, to see him at a meeting where we were discussing Labour’s National Education Service, firing away on all cylinders.
The last time I visited him, at home, just 36 hours before he died, frail though he was, he still quizzed me on events in Parliament and still trying to do one of his ‘Cook’s tours’ of world affairs from Ireland, to Hungary, the Middle East and beyond.
With me that day was his neighbour, friend and fellow party member Augusta Gibril. She has been a rock to Dougie, suppporting him , driving him to events – encapsulating our esteem, as did all the other members who gave Dougie a helping hand.
We will miss and mourn him – but also celebrate his warmth , courage and knowledge, which enriched us and will continue to do so.